This is 5 Questions. Each week, we send five questions to an artist featured in Under the Radar, our weekly email highlighting the best art on the ArtSlant network. This week we seek answers from Larry Madrigal.
What are you trying to communicate with your work?
I am definitely not trying to communicate an explicit message per se. But on a subconscious level, there are some elements in my work that are a direct link my worldview. My interests in portraits comes from a fundamental idea of transcendent dignity within individuals. You could say that I’m trying to make a statement about our importance as humans, and that we actually universally matter. Capturing the likeness of a person is therefore very important to my process as well as integrating elements of their life and interests within the image. In recent work, I am moving towards broader themes within the human experience. I am currently working on a painting of a music producer, and hope it captures the pleasure of music, music history, organization of elements, while at the same time, exposing the inner complex world of this particular individual.
From Above and Below, 2016, Oil on canvas, 60 x 48 inches
What is an artist’s responsibility?
I love hearing how other artists answer this question, as it sheds light on their view of art. It’s interesting to hear the language of purpose and responsibility with phrases like, “an artist should” or “should not” in these responses, as they imply a universal standard. I would argue that an artist’s responsibility is to work hard, and be authentic. Artists have the unique opportunity to expose the internal human experience through visual, poetic, musical, or other avenues. They add an important layer over the mere facts of life.
Show us the greatest thing you ever made (art or not)?
My three-month-old daughter, Marlowe, is by far the most amazing thing my wife and I made thus far:
Photo courtesy of Larry Madrigal
Tell us about a work you want to make but never will:
I’ve always wanted to make an Old Master painting. But, I don’t think I’ll ever get around to it. There are so many other paintings I want to make before that experiment.
Who are three artists we should know but probably don’t?
Tyler Griese in a fantastic figurative painter exploring the range of human emotions through complex spaces, odd colors, and light.
Dean Reynolds is a brilliant craftsman, pop art rockstar, and incredibly thoughtful artist. His work contains bright colors and wild imagery, yet underneath has a serious and weird vibe.
Jonni Cheatwood is an artist whose number one rule is to have no rules. His abstract work, inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat, is authentic and raw.
—The ArtSlant Team
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(Image at top: Melancholia (Self Portrait), 2017, oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches. All images: Courtesy of the artist)